New home building unexpectedly rebounded across the country last month as builders increased their housing starts to a 583,000 annual pace from a record low of 477,000 set in January.
The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that new home construction rose 22 percent from January to February but remained 48.5 percent below year-ago levels. The surge was led by an 83 percent jump in multi-family construction. Single-family homebuilding rose by a modest 1.1 percent.
In the South, which includes the Carolinas, new construction jumped 30 percent last month compared to the month before but was still 44 percent below the levels of last year.
Only one region reported a drop in housing starts: the West, where starts declined by 24.6 percent. The largest increase was in the Northeast, where starts increased 88 percent.
Permits for future new home construction in the South rose by 5.9 percent from January to February but were still 46 percent lower than the year before.
Nationwide, permits rose 3 percent from January to February but remained 48.8 percent lower than a year ago.
The South region includes Virginia, Maryland, D.C., Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.